Softbank chief: We're open to other deals in U.S.

The chief executive tells The Wall Street Journal that he hasn't ruled out any other stateside opportunities, though he doesn't say which companies he might consider buying.

Softbank CEO Masayoshi Son speaking at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in February 2011.
Softbank CEO Masayoshi Son, speaking at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in February 2011. Stephen Shankland/CNET

Softbank CEO Masayoshi Son is ready and willing to entertain other buyout possibilities in the U.S., he has reportedly confirmed.

Speaking to The Wall Street Journal in an interview published yesterday, Son said that he isn't yet willing to rule out other acquisition deals, though he didn't specifically cite any company that might be in his crosshairs. Sprint CEO Dan Hesse, who was also present at the interview, told the Journal that at some point in the future, he could see his company merge with T-Mobile.

Softbank announced earlier this week that it would pay $20.1 billion to take a 70 percent stake in Sprint. The move should help stabilize the ailing U.S. carrier and give Son his much-desired U.S. foothold.

That announcement came just days after T-Mobile owner Deutsche Telekom announced that it had inked a merger deal with regional carrier MetroPCS. That move would bolster T-Mobile's business, Deutsche Telekom has claimed. However, MetroPCS investors are reportedly not too happy about the deal , which includes $1.5 billion in cash and a 26 percent stake in the combined firm.

"The process leading to the proposed acquisition was tainted by conflicts, tilted towards T-Mobile and driven entirely by the board and company management, who together control 15.4 percent of PCS' outstanding stock and seek liquidity for their illiquid holdings," shareholders argued in a lawsuit filed earlier this week in Dallas.

Is that reported shareholder unrest an opportunity for Son and Softbank? Perhaps. MetroPCS hasn't merged with T-Mobile yet, potentially giving Softbank the opening it needs to steal the company out from under Deutsche Telekom. If that doesn't happen, it's possible several other small carriers might be on Softbank's hit list, including MetroPCS competitor Leap Wireless.

"We shouldn't rule out any opportunity or alternative," Son told the Journal.

 

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